Bringing Meditation to Life

108 Teachings on the Path of Zen Practice

“Meditation is not just something we do on the cushion, it’s a way of living.”
Zen teacher Claude AnShin Thomas shares his experiences and insights into how Zen teachings and practice can move off the meditation cushion and into everything we do, transforming all aspects of our lives.
Bringing Mediation to Life features 108 pithy and potent teachings for inspiration and contemplation, drawn from Claude AnShin’s public talks and previous writings. Interspersed throughout the book are some of the author’s favorite quotes from Zen literature.


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At Hell's Gate

“Written with relentless courage and utter compassion, this account of violence and transformation is one of the most amazing and wonderful stories I’ve ever read.”—Michael Herr, Vietnam war correspondent, screenwriter, and author of Dispatches

"Claude Anshin Thomas has been an inspiration to me. Our world urgently needs to listen to him tell of his life in war and then in peace."—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior

"In these strange times, when fear and aggression often seem to be the only responses we can imagine to a perceived threat, this powerful book provides an honest, open-hearted, and very moving testimony to the power of Buddhist practice to break this cycle." —George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo

"Thomas's journey from the killing fields of Vietnam to the path of peace and pilgrimage testifies to his—and our—powerful urge to awaken. At the same time, this is not a pretty story. Anshin Thomas has lived in hell, knows its smell and taste, and continues to confront it every day of his life. Yet he remains undeterred in his work to make peace in himself and the world at large." —Tetsugen Bernie Glassman

"A powerful, wise, and genuinely profound spiritual odyssey from the insanity of violence (in the world, within ourselves, and in the assumptions of American culture) to the peace and compassion of mindfulness practice." —Charles Johnson, winner of the National Book Award for Middle Passage

"This is a book of great power. Thomas's story has the power to heal, to inspire, to teach." —John Laurence, former CBS News correspondent and author of The Cat from Hué: A Vietnam War Story


Book description

In this raw, personal narrative, Claude Thomas describes his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and his remarkable journey toward healing. At Hell's Gate is not only a gripping coming-of-age story but a spiritual travelogue from the horrors of combat to the discovery of inner peace—a journey that inspired Thomas to become a Zen monk and peace activist who travels to war-scarred regions around the world. "Everyone has their Vietnam," Thomas writes. "Everyone has their own experience of violence, calamity, or trauma." With simplicity and power, this book offers timeless teachings on how we can all find healing, and it presents practical guidance on how mindfulness and compassion can transform our lives.

This expanded paperback edition features:

●      Discussion questions for reading groups

●      A new afterword by the author reflecting on how the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are affecting soldiers—and offering advice on how to help returning soldiers to cope with their combat experiences

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